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Ketoacidosis is one of many serious complications of diabetes. People suffering from this disease should learn about this problem and its symptoms, in order to prevent or treat it and avoid potentially lethal situation.

Diabetes patients have no or very little insulin in the body, which means they cannot use glucose to produce energy. Instead, their body starts to use fat and produces toxic acids and releases them into the blood. These toxic acids are known as ketones and their accumulation may present a life threat (diabetic acidosis) if the condition is not taken care of.

Ketoacidosis Symptoms

Diabetics may develop ketoacidosis very quickly and sometimes it takes just 24 hours to show. Patients may notice extreme thirst and frequent urination, as well as some abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Many also experience tiredness, loss of appetite, confusion and shortness of breath. Some more specific signs of this condition may include: fruity breath and high levels of blood glucose and ketones in the urine. Most of these symptoms will also appear in diabetics suffering from some viral infection, so make sure to check your blood sugar level more frequently when under stress or feeling sick. There are also some urine ketones testing kits available at drugstores, so you can use these.

Vomiting and inability to eat or drink anything may indicate the need for consultation with your doctor. Also, keep in mind that you have to contact your doctor if there is increasingly high level of glucose in your blood or ketones in the urine. Urgent medical assistance needs to be called if the person’s blood sugar is higher than 300mg/dL (16.7mmol/L) or urine ketones are too high and the person's doctor is not available at the moment.

How to Prevent Ketoacidosis?

Although diabetes can be tricky to manage in some cases, many medical complications due to this illness can be avoided. Healthy diet and proper physical activity should be included in every diabetic’s life, as well as proper use of recommended therapy, either oral medications or insulin.

Diabetic patients must check their blood glucose several times every day in order to maintain healthy level of blood sugar and avoid possible health problems. These people must learn to adjust their insulin dose according to their physical activity, level of stress and additional medical conditions. Your doctor or diabetes educator will be very helpful with this.

Also, every patient suffering from diabetes must check ketone level if feeling ill. Moderate or high results mean you must call your doctor or emergency care. Because ketoacidosis usually develops extremely quickly be prepared to act accordingly and rapidly in this situation.

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